Perforin-dependent cytotoxic activity and lymphokine secretion by CD4+ T cells are regulated by CD8+ T cells.

Beirne B. Carter Center for Immunology Research and Department of Microbiology, University of Virginia Health Sciences Center, Charlottesville 22908, USA.
The Journal of Immunology (Impact Factor: 5.36). 10/1997; 159(5):2091-9.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Factors influencing the development of CD4+ T cell subpopulations with differing lymphokine profiles are well established. However, CD4+ cells can show both perforin- and Fas ligand-dependent cytotoxicity, and little is known about conditions favoring the development of these effector activities. We now report that CD8+ cells regulate the development of perforin-dependent cytotoxicity in CD4+ cells. CD4+ cells activated in either the presence or absence of CD8+ cells developed Fas ligand-dependent cytotoxic activity. However, CD4+ cells developed perforin-dependent cytotoxicity only in the absence of activated CD8+ cells. CD8+ cells also inhibited the development of IL-4-secreting CD4+ cells; however, there was no correlation between the expression of perforin-dependent cytotoxic activity and the ability to secrete IL-4, and perforin-dependent cytotoxic CD4+ cells represented only 10% of isolated clones. This suggests that the two characteristics are expressed in different CD4+ subsets and might be regulated by distinct effects of the CD8+ cells. In keeping with this, regulation of the lymphokine profile of CD4+ cells by CD8+ cells was consistent with mediation by IFN-gamma, but only when delivered at high concentrations requiring close proximity of the cells. In contrast, regulation of perforin-dependent cytotoxic activity of CD4+ cells by CD8+ cells seemed inconsistent with an IFN-gamma-dependent mechanism, suggesting either direct cell contact or close proximity to allow delivery of an unidentified soluble factor. The characteristics of perforin-dependent CD4+ CTL and their regulation by activated CD8+ cells suggest that they represent a previously unrecognized subpopulation that plays a defensive role when a CD8+ cell response is absent.